THE GAVEL

Sigma Zeta Gavel and Strike PlateThe official gavel, used at national meetings as well as at the installation of new chapters and other official occasions, is of historical significance since the woods of which it is composed represents the first few chapters of Sigma Zeta.

The head of the gavel is composed of seven sections of wood, one from each of the seven first chapters. In the center of the head is a cylindrical piece of oak, turned from a beam at the home of the Rev. John J. Peck, founder of Shurtleff College. This house was built in 1821, only a few years before the founding of Shurtleff College, the home of Alpha Chapter.

There are six segments around the center cylinder, and into one of these the handle of the gavel is set. This segment is a piece of mahogany from the case of a battery of Leyden jars used in the physics laboratory of Otterbein College soon after its founding in 1847. It represents Epsilon Chapter.

The light colored wood next to the mahogany was originally a part of a stair rail in the Central State Teachers College building, and represents Zeta Chapter. Next in order is a spruce segment representing Eta Chapter. It is from the original flooring of the science hall, one of the oldest buildings on the campus at Cape Girardeau.

The Beta Chapter at McKendree College is represented by the next segment; it is walnut from the frame of an old piece of laboratory apparatus, believed to have been purchased in 1835. The wood next to the walnut is a piece of yellow pine from the flooring of the Egyptian Building, the oldest building on the campus of the Medical College of Virginia. It represents Gamma Chapter.

Completing the circle around the central cylinder is a piece of a walnut from Delta Chapter at Northeastern Missouri State Teachers College.

Silver bands around the gavel head serve not only to give it strength but also to afford a suitable place for the identification of the other chapters of the society. The Greek letters designating the additional chapters are engraved on the bands around the gavel head.

The gavel is the contribution of F. A. Hanawalt, faculty sponsor of Epsilon Chapter and national president in 1936-7, and in 1952-3. It was constructed under his supervision from wood contributed by the seven original chapters. The velvet case was presented to the society by Zeta Chapter.

A gavel anvil prepared by Alpha Gamma Chapter was presented at the 1977 convention. Six chapters donated wood to be used in the anvil.